Less Injustice and More Vulnerability

By

Every book. Every movie. Songs. Sermons. Those old episodes of Once Upon A Time. Pretty much anything my eyes see and my ears hear seems different these days. It all speaks to my heart and challenges my soul in a way that’s unfamiliar.

I’ve been going through a rough patch. No doubt it started sometime in my past, when I missed a life lesson on vulnerability. Over the years I’ve learned to tuck away emotions like hurt and sadness behind calculated reactions to injustice and disappointment. “What you did is not right” and “You are acting inappropriately” have been surrogates for “I feel belittled by you” and “I feel embarrassed by you.” I have conditioned myself to wag my head, but rarely do I cry.

This way that I’ve trained my soul has not served me well of late. It would be uncharitable to publicly say why. Let it suffice to say that there is a flesh and blood reason. Who it is is not the point. Nor does it matter so much that the person is wrong. Nor that the person is being unkind. Perhaps the only way God can get through the wall to my heart is a Babylonian captivity. Should I blame Nebuchadnezzar for being a nasty king? In many ways, jerks are less pitiable than the people who need jerks to jolt them out of dysfunction. I feel like I am in an uglier spot than my antagonist.

So this is an interesting spiritual place for me to be while heading into Holy Week. Reflecting on my hesitance to be vulnerable, I have asked why am I resistant to fess up to sadness and hurt and inadequacy. Being close to Good Friday helps answer that question. I am resistant because the worst possible outcome to vulnerability is really bad: Crucifixion.

Let’s be honest. The argument in favor of vulnerability is that friends cannot draw near and comfort us unless we are vulnerable. But that same argument means enemies can draw near and scourge us with a whip, sink a crown of thorns into our skull, and nail us to a tree. Vulnerability is risky.

But if vulnerability is a risk, then Easter Sunday is the reward. Any day of the week I will take a resurrection, scars still visible but all the sadness gone. I say that. I know it in my mind. But it has only been recently that I’ve allowed the truth of it to dampen my eyes.

This is going to be a journey. I cannot say how my rough patch will end. Perhaps with reconciliation. Perhaps with unresolved hurt. No doubt it will involve the discomfort of growth. But however it ends, I hope to get to the other side of it acting less indignant and more vulnerable.

Profile photo of David Michael Bruno

Dave is an author, educator, and advocate of living simply. Dave has spoken nationally and internationally about simplicity. He has appeared in Time Magazine, Mother Jones Magazine, the London Times, and The Guardian, and has been a guest of the 700 Club. His book The 100 Thing Challenge (HarperCollins, 2010) tells the story of his simple-living journey and the worldwide movement it contributed to. Dave holds an M.A. from Wheaton College and a B.A. from Moody Bible Institute. He works at Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters.


9 Comments

  1. Scott B.

    This is beautiful. To varying degrees, depending on the day, I find myself in similar places. I also think that to be male is also to be afraid of vulnerability. We are supposed to be strong and not need anyone else. Our society also expects all of us to “have it all together.” To not “have it all together” is failure.

    May we all learn to open up to each other, need others and to confess how broken we are. I’m broken. I have plenty of hurts that I’m scared to death to even think, let alone discuss with others. I’m even hesitant to open up to God.

    I understand, David. Thanks for your post.

  2. Arlia M. Frink

    I reiterate everything the previous person commented. The risk inherent in exposure is weighty, but infinitely less so when shared with others. Thank you for sharing, because you never know who it will propel towards surrender and restoration.

  3. Chris Yokel

    “But that same argument means enemies can draw near and scourge us with a whip, sink a crown of thorns into our skull, and nail us to a tree. Vulnerability is risky.”

    Gonna be thinking about that line for awhile.

  4. gllen

    Ah, yes… Thank you David!
    Your words resonate with and confirm what has been bouncing around in my heart and life the past few weeks.
    Being vulnerable to those we can trust with our hearts is one thing –
    but those who would do otherwise…
    Ooooohhh – ouch!
    I certainly prefer to run the other way – or sharpen my own sword!

    (the following is from Saturday’s journaling – attempting to corral some thoughts and experiences of late – they might add to the conversation)

    real life is real messy –
    and there is just no getting around that.
    real faith is real messy –
    and, once again, there is just no getting around that.

    I think it is the artists who are not afraid to admit the messes of life –
    who have the guts, the temerity, and the tenacity to shape/craft/speak with raw (tender?) honesty what the messy skin of such a life as ours is really like –
    no, really…

    – these are the artists (the friends, the mentors) who have had the most significant impact in shaping my life/heart/thinking into what it is today (and what it is ever-becoming)…

    – also, those who have risen in the middle of the winds, sinkholes, and storms – to decipher, unearth, and set out for display, small glimpses of love, and gift, and beauty.

    – these are the see-ers who help me to see..

  5. Chinwe

    “I am resistant because the worst possible outcome to vulnerability is really bad: Crucifixion.”

    Ha! “really bad” – what an understatement!

    Thanks so much for this exercise in vulnerability David.

  6. Lisa

    Thank you, David. Your struggles mirror my own. Thanks for this piece, which will give me rich contemplation, if I will let it.

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *